Posted by: John Looker | 6 May, 2011

Istanbul in poetry

There’s more poetry about Istanbul than I was aware of.

Only after I had finished my recent series of poems centred on Istanbul, its region and history, did I discover two published poets who have a long association with the city.

One is Richard Tillinghast. He has a website at where some of his writings appear (in particular a poem called Ars Poetica which is full of rich historical allusions as well as contemporary comment).

The other is John Ash. I can’t find any of his poems online but I’ve been reading his collection “In the Wake of the Day”, published by Carcanet Press with a site at . His poems seem to me to occupy the border zone of poetry and prose, but (or do I mean ‘and’?) are full of local atmosphere.

I was well aware of the Byzantium poems by WB Yeats. You can’t ignore those.


  1. You’re in good company then John. Do you feel a little lost now the series is done? I’m sure that they will always stand the test of time you know. A perfect album.


  2. That’s very generous of you, Kiersty. Actually I was ready for something new, and fortunately have several ideas in mind on different themes.


  3. Thanks for the tips.
    I’ve been to Istanbul many times – and the city is so enormous, there’s always something new to discover.


    • It’s a remarkable historic city, isn’t it? Thank you for taking time to explore my poems.


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